Gboyega Oyetola, Osun State governor

By Sunday Oguntuyi, Osogbo

Following the decision of the Osun state government to extend lockdown for another 14 days to avert the spread of coronavirus pandemic, residents of the state have registered their displeasure over the extension saying it’s an extension of hunger and poverty.

Speaking with our correspondent, some residents who prefer anonymity said, extension of lockdown by the government is at the detriment of the poor masses, claiming that it had increased hunger and posed threat on their means of livelihood and survival.

They said, although the extension was well-intended by the government but it had not been easy for many of them.

It would be recalled that, governor of the state, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, had in a live broadcast on Tuesday night announced the extension of lockdown in the state for another 14 days in an effort to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

To enable Osun residents and citizens stock up their homes adequately in preparation for the forthcoming lockdown, Oyetola grants a two-day break. However, some of the residents lamented the hardship they were exposed to during the lockdown.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the residents trooped out in multitude, flooding banks, markets, shops and even the major roads, causing traffic congestion.

The residents, especially market women, labourers and hustlers whose means of survival depend on daily jobs described the lockdown as a difficult time for them as they found it hard to cater for their family.

Some of these daily hustlers appealed to the government to relax the lockdown order so that they can work and survive during this period, maintaining that the two-day break is not enough for them to hustle and earn wages to enable them to prepare for the lockdown extension.

While speaking with some of the hustlers, they complained about their financial incapability which they hope the government will attend to by providing relief materials for them.

One of the daily hustlers, who identified himself as Kehinde Olonade stated that “the two-week break affected people, especially our people here who suffered due to hunger and poverty. I know that this is caused by Coronavirus, however, I will like to appeal to the government to make provision of money and foodstuff for the people of Osun.”

On the part of Kayode Olatunji, a bricklayer, he said, “our government has tried but all of the palliatives they claimed to have shared are not enough. For some of us who are bricklayers & carpenters, we did not receive anything from the government. We could not even get job offers as the lockdown met us suddenly. Many of us are truly suffering. The government should release us so that poor people like us who do not earn salaries but wages would be able to work.

“The two-day break is not enough. We have been here waiting for job offers, but we’ve not received any. It only pays salary earners, not those who earn wages like us. We don’t even have the money to buy things at home. Many of us borrowed money to eat during the previous lockdown. And I see the whole thing as an avenue to make people suffer. God is not inflicting pain on us, we are the ones inflicting pain on ourselves. It is not every one of us that have salary-earning jobs.

“Welders, carpenters, bricklayers, and other daily hustlers are feeling the brunt of this hardship, unlike the salary earners. Don’t you see that it is cheating? The government should turn things around and allow us to work.”

Also speaking, Oladeji Funke, a pepper seller at Alekunwodo market, stated that “the two weeks given to us, we just accepted our fate. And now they’ve added another two weeks. Some took garri throughout the period and now that they’ve added another two weeks, how do they expect people to get money within two days to stock up their houses? Those who claimed to give us rice gave us 3 cups of rice, is that what we will eat for two weeks?

“The government should help us. Many people did not receive the rice they shared. If the government will do it right, they should have shared money through our BVN. Even if it is #1000 or #2000 each, it will get to everyone. Market women have d numbers too,” she added.